duty

this beaten down shell of a woman 

the one with the grandest dreams 

grew tired of seeing her shadow at the bottom

and

let the violins lead her out of the water

to take a walk under the August sun 

 

unafraid to 

journey for days on end without sleep 

burdened with thirst but not take a drink

until that duty called her back in 

to cut her feet on those flawed, broken shells 

back in to swim with the eels

back to the that beaten down shell of a woman

like me

night

the way he is right now

I’ve learned to walk silently across the floor 

I’m a tall, strong woman with weary size ten feet

but I’m here tiptoeing and praying not to wake the manic beast, 

the way he is right now 

The past 2 weeks were okay

how I wish that guy could stay 

the one with the kind blue eyes 

the one that copies the clouds 

in the sky

the one who speaks gentle words 

and doesn’t wish for me to die

He doesn’t mean it, they always say 

But seriously, doesn’t dawn always beckon a new day?

Oh God, what if he means it?

These are the thoughts that make me lock my door

before I attempt to sleep

thoughts that make me say that extra prayer 

thoughts that make me easily tiptoe with my weary size ten feet 

to walk silently across the floor

begging not to wake the manic beast

hidden

there’s a suitcase in the far corner of my closet

the older one with the worn brown

checkerboard pattern and a faded luggage tag

can’t make out the name any longer

not going anywhere anyway

and if I pretend

the flattened leather handle still feels warm

probably from when you used it last

back when life was happy and our souls were stronger

sometimes when things get loud

I want to place a blanket in that suitcase,

in the far corner of my closet,

crawl inside, zip it up and lie

quietly, silently

will he find me

I want to say aloud

but I don’t dare make a sound

these days, these long days

after the first door slam, I want to bolt

run far before the terror takes hold

but no

I have to stand there and take it

stand there and stand there

stand there and fake it

place my trembling hands in my pockets

ignore my heart pounding in my ears

taste the rapid beats, choke them down

why is it getting so difficult

I’ve been doing this for years

every time I enter my closet

I give that suitcase an extra glance

maybe one day I could do it

run quick when I have the chance

when I’m first warned

place a blanket inside, make it cozy and warm

crawl inside, zip it up

lie quietly, silently battered and worn

i go

swept away, away i go

into his vortex, trembling…

waiting for the top to blow

first on my arms, then my nose

what he does next

well, you know

whatever is loony,

the opposite of sane,

living like this…

i’m going insane

 

somebody please stop this senseless ride

i’m getting dizzy…

i want to run inside and hide

fall asleep for a thousand years and a day

a small reprieve from

waiting, pacing…

praying, trembling…

all the while being swept away,

swept away i go

 

 

what will

What will it be

the day after tomorrow

what will the punishing be

what bad thoughts

will swim and dance in his head

what will the questions be

what will cause the train

to runaway and wreck

over and over and over again

until

we scream back, “what the heck?

what words will I say in vain

and

when he thinks we’re fake

I’ll cry and spew back,

damn you, this isn’t a game!”

what more do we have to say or prove

what magic doors do I need to

go through

Please God, say the words

and

tell me what to do

what will it be the day after tomorrow

what will my punishment be

pain and pain that will last forever

Oh God,

please tell me this isn’t forever

away from this

Baby girl,

I read that you wanted to run 

away from this, away from him

never me, never us

Go ahead and run baby girl

run as far from here

away from him, away from this 

Baby girl,

it broke my heart to hear you cry

sitting far from our crumbling house

our poor aching house 

we hear its moans in the middle of night

it interrupts our conversations

with its whispers of fright 

walls with holes so deep we want to crawl in

to escape this, to escape him 

Crawl in and weep for years and years 

then crawl back out to ask,

Is it over yet?”

but no one is there to answer back 

the house is empty 

all that’s left is the fear

that fear could live for a million years

that night

i hate it that i made that sound

when my flesh was torn

and thrown on the ground

i saw my skin flapping

my blood begging to stay

i took a look

and

you were running away

 

 

blonde woman in ER

Milky veiled eyes,

heavy in a trance.

Her tongue flipped 

Portuguese and Italian.

When she was angry,

she broke the foreign dance;

spoke a startling line of English.

What’s your name?!

to the doctor she spat.

Next glance I took

she was wearing a mask,

passed out cold.

No more vexed phrases

in Portuguese and Italian

to be told.

right now

Do you remember that glass 

shattered on the floor?

The one I told you about last week?

A week has gone by, 

and now I’ve become her.

The one who’s broken, 

The one who’s scarred,

The one who’s screaming 

for her son 

to come back to her.